Sharks In Hawaii: Everything You Need To Know About Them

Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Amin Tawar

Sharks In Hawaii

Just as we are careful when entering a new country where we are just visitors, the same must be applied when entering ocean or sea waters. 

We need to recognize that there are hidden dangers, and we merely are having a wilderness experience. And talking about that, one of the hidden dangers in Hawaii islands’ inshore water includes sharks. Known for the crowds of visitors, this state includes a number of islands surrounded by known for its unique marine life.

And although shark attacks in Hawaii are rare, they should remain so. Local people are accustomed to it and the problem is, therefore, the visitors. So, for those of you who are planning to go to Hawaii and have no idea about sharks, this is the right place for you to understand more about them.

Are There Sharks in Hawaii?

Oh yes, As per the Hawaiian Lifeguard Association, there are about 40 species of sharks that can be found in Hawaiian waters. The range of these creatures is so large that you have chances to see both an 8-inch shark and a 50 ft long shark. Although most sharks found in the state’s inshore are safe, it is important to remember that these creatures are wild and should be respected at all times.

Types Of Sharks in Hawaii & What’s The Most Common Shark in Hawaii?

Following the information on the presence of sharks in the state, let us now get into knowing the types of sharks found. As mentioned above, there are a massive 40 species of shark on the island. But only eight species of shark are common to the state’s waters. These include the whitetip reef, scalloped hammerhead, sandbar, and sometimes the rare tiger sharks. 

These are the apex predators of their habitat and occupy the top spot in the ecological food chain. Although people do realize their importance in the ecosystem, the role they play is still not fully understood. 

How Common Is It to See a Shark in Hawaii?

Sharks In Hawaii

According to the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, there have been about 14 confirmed shark attacks between 2016 to 2020 in Hawaii. So, no It is not common to see a shark in Hawaii. These creatures can typically be found in the waters during summer when they are in search of warm water. So, remember, summer will not only bring in a flock of visitors to the island but also a stream of sharks.

Also, Check Our Guide On Sharks In Florida

Is It Rare to See a Shark in Hawaii?

Oh yes, It is rare to see sharks in Hawaii. As mentioned in the previous section, only a few shark incidents have occurred. Although these creatures roam in the waters during summer, it is important to note that about a million visitors come into the picture. Most of the shark species are harmless to humans and like other wild creatures, they will be hard to control when threatened, provoked, or cornered.

Are There Aggressive Sharks in Hawaii?

Out of the eight species of shark common to Hawaii, almost all of them are safe to share the waters with. Few of them have however been responsible for biting and Tiger shark tops the list. 

They are easily differentiated by their blunt snout and the vertical bars on their sides. Another creature that has been implicated in a few cases includes the hammerhead. And like tiger sharks, hammerheads are also easily recognizable. 

Tiger sharks were once believed to be territorial which now after extensive research has been disproved. This means that these creatures now occupy more range than what we had previously assumed. They are often attracted to stream mouths after rain where other fishes and animals are swept out into the sea.

How Do You Stay Safe from Sharks in Hawaii?

To stay safe from sharks, it is important to follow the precautions and rules set for observing these creatures in the inshore waters. Although shark bites are rare here with just about 3 to 4 bites per year, it is still important to maintain your distance with them. 

With your current knowledge of the types of sharks, recognize the shark in your case first and if the ones you have spotted have turned out to be tiger sharks or white sharks, you need to get out of the water into a safe place. 

Inform the local authorities including the respective lifebuoy. Additionally, tips include not splashing and avoiding shiny clothes when planning to swim. And as these creatures especially the tiger shark is much more active at dawn, dusk, and night when they hunt for food, never disturb, or visit their habitat during this time.

Can You Swim with Sharks in Hawaii? (With Cost)

Although encountering sharks in the ocean during a casual swim might be traumatic and scary, the sharing of our space with these creatures during a tour is an experience that everyone visiting the state must have. 

You can swim with sharks with or without a cage depending on your preferences. Although the cost depends largely on the tour operator, it generally ranged from $100 to $150 per adult for up to 30 mins. 

Remember to follow the rules and regulations set up by the operators. You may most often than not spot tiger sharks and sometimes if lucky enough can spot even white sharks.

What Eats Sharks in Hawaii?

Sharks are top of the food chain and most often than not, don’t have any predators. But in Hawaii, these creatures do have some. The most common predator of sharks in Hawaii is the orca or killer whale which hunts and kills sharks including tiger sharks. 

Note that orca is not native to the state but often visit and have seen attacking sharks in the past. Another potential predator is the false killer whale which in fact is a large dolphin that inhabits Hawaii waters and has also helped humans catch fish. They are known to cut sharks’ tails and leave them bleeding to death.


And that was everything you need to know about the Sharks in Hawaii. I hope this article answered all your queries.

Our Source For This Guide.

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